Nevada Legislature: TRPA seeks budget enhancement to protect against invasive species

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency on Friday asked Nevada lawmakers to support Gov. Brian Sandoval’s recommended budget to fund a total of $750,000 a year to protect Lake Tahoe from invasive aquatic species.

Specifically, TRPA Director Joanne Marchetta told the panel reviewing the bi-state budget that amount would be split 50-50 between California and Nevada and would fund efforts to prevent the invasion and spread of species including the quagga mussel at the lake.

The total bill for Nevada would be $375,000 a year for the next two years for invasive species.

Julie Regan, chief of external affairs for the agency, said that will continue a program recognized nationally to prevent the spread of invasive foreign aquatic species.

The total program costs about $1.5 million a year. The remaining 50 percent comes from fees charged boaters at the lake.

Marchetta told the joint Assembly-Senate panel the boating inspection program conducted more than 7,000 inspections and performed 2,700 decontaminations last summer to prevent unwanted species from reaching the lake.

Regan said that turned up 48 “fouled boats,” several from Lake Mead in Southern Nevada which already had a serious quagga infestation. Those boats were quarantined and disinfected before being allowed onto Lake Tahoe.

Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle, D-Sparks, told the other members of the panel the interim committee charged with studying and making recommendations about Tahoe unanimously supported that added funding.

The proposed budget also asks lawmakers to approve Nevada’s one-third share of the total TRPA budget — a total of just more than $1.53 million a year.

When fees and other funds are added in, the total TRPA bi-state budget comes to $15.7 million a year for the coming two years.

The committee took no action on the proposed spending plan.

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